University of Delaware changes plans to deliver most classes online for fall semester


VALUEZTV PM EDITION




Natalia Alamdari


Most courses at the University of Delaware will be delivered online in the fall, a shift from the university's initial hybrid learning plan for the upcoming semester. 


In a letter to students and faculty on Tuesday, university president Dennis Assanis cited concerns of asymptomatic spread and the rising number of cases among 18-34-year-olds in Delaware as reasons to limit in-person classes. 


Most undergraduate and graduate courses will be taught virtually, along with all courses in the Associate of Arts program. 


Only courses that require in-person instruction will meet on campus. This includes classes like engineering labs, hands-on nursing instruction, animal handling courses and music instruction. Select classes for international students and others with specific needs will also be in-person, the letter said. 


The university is still finalizing the list of in-person courses. 

Classes will still begin Sept. 1. All classes and final exams will shift online after Thanksgiving break.


Tuition will not increase from last year's rates. The university is currently reviewing and adjusting student fees to account for services that cannot be provided virtually. While the delivery of instruction will be different, the university remains committed to a high quality of instruction, said Andrea Boyle Tippett, spokesperson for the university.


“The cost for online instruction is actually higher, reflecting the expense of computer equipment, software, instructional technology expertise and other needs," Boyle Tippett said. "Those higher costs are not being passed on to students.”


On-campus housing will be limited primarily to students enrolled in the few face-to-face classes. Housing will also be open to international students, students completing clinical rotations or field placements and students who need housing due to hardship. 


All bedrooms will be single occupancy.  


"The latest development certainly does not reflect how we would like to begin a new academic year, with all Blue Hens back on campus," Assanis said. 


Earlier this week, faculty members said they received mixed messages about whether classes would transition online. Faculty in at least one department were told by email Tuesday to reconfigure their courses for a fully online fall semester by the end of the day Wednesday.


Initially, the university planned to have a blend of online and in-person learning, with in-person classes capped at 49 students. Classes were to operate on an A/B schedule, with students alternating between in-person and online instruction each week in order to limit the number of people on campus. 


For students and faculty on campus in the fall, masks and social distancing will still be required. All employees, students and visitors will need to complete a daily electronic health screening questionnaire before arriving on campus. 


The university also plans to do mass COVID-19 testing on students, faculty and staff who return in the fall.


Students will still be able to use spaces like the library, student center,  and Little Bob recreation center. 



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